There’s information on Merle T. Lewelling in the Missouri State Archives “Soldiers' Records: War of 1812 - World War I” at http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/soldiers.
MERLE T. LEWELLING
Army Serial Number: 2,184,469
Residence: 1410 East 6th Street, Kansas City, Missouri
Inducted at: Larned, Kansas; 4 September 1917
Age at Induction: 29 years, 1 month
Place of Birth: Salem, Indiana
Service: Company E, 356th Infantry, 4 September 1917 to 11 November 1918
Grades: Cpl 6/19 [19 June1918]
Served Overseas: 4 June 1918-11 November 1918
Remarks: Killed in action 11 November 1918. Father, William Penn Lewelling, Larned, Kansas, notified.
Googling a little, I found this biographic sketch of Merle Thurman Lewelling in “Indiana World War Records -- Gold Star Honor Roll: A Record of Indiana Men and Women who died in the service of the United States and the Allied Nations in the World War (1914-1918),” published by the Indiana Historical Commission, Indianapolis, in 1921. Under Washington County, it reads:
“Lewelling, Merle Thurman - - - Corporal
Son of William P. and Ada D. Lewelling; born August 15, 1888, Salem, Ind. Graduate of Northern Illinois College of Optometry. Optometrist. Entered service September 15, 1917, Kansas City, Mo. Reported as the first man from seven states to report at Camp Funston, Kan., for training. Assigned to Company E, 356th Infantry, 89th Division. Overseas June 3, 1918. Killed in action 11 November 1918, Armistice Day, near Beaumont, just before crossing the Meuse River. (Burial place not known.)”
Camp Funston was on Fort Riley, southwest of Manhattan, Kansas. It was one of sixteen Divisional Cantonment Training Camps established at the outbreak of World War I. Major General Leonard Wood, a physician who had served as the Chief of Staff of the United States Army (1910-1914), commanded Camp Funston. The 89th Division, known as the “Middle West Division,” trained at Camp Funston. One estimate was that more men in the 89th were from Missouri than from any other state.
The 1910 census shows Merle T. Lewelling, age 11 (b. August 1888, IN), living with his parents -- farmer Wm. P. Lewelling, 38 (b. March 1862, IN), and Ada Lewelling, 32 (b. January 1865, IN), married 13 years -- and younger brother Wilber A. Lewelling, 9 (b. January 1891, IN) in the north part of Washington Township, Washington County, Indiana. Salem, Merle T. Lewelling’s reported birthplace, is the seat of Washington County.
The LDS FamilySearch Web site has an IGI Individual Record identifying the parents of William P. Lewelling as William Lewelling (1818-1880) and Ruth (Overman) Lewelling (1822-1908).
Another IGI Individual record lists the parents of the 1818-born William Lewelling as Shadrach Lewelling and Sarah (Hobbs) Lewelling.
The LDS FamilySearch Web site has an IGI Individual Record noting William P. Lewelling married Ada D. Peden in Washington County, Indiana, on 31 March 1877, a date consistent with the 1910 census information.
In 1880, William P. Lewelling was living in a Washington County household headed by his widowed mother, Ruth Lewelling:
LEWELLING Ruth Head Widowed Female White 57 IN NC NC Keeping House
LEWELLING Thomas S. Son Single Male White 22 IN IN IN Farmer
LEWELLING William P. Son Single Male White 18 IN IN IN Farm Laborer
BANTA Jane Sister-in-Law Widowed Female White 68 NC NC NC Visiting in Family
RENICK Alice Niece Single Female White 26 IN IN IN Teaching School
HOGDEN Walter Cousin Single Male White 22 MO IN IN Farm Laborer
IGI Individual Records note Jane Lewelling (b. 1812, NC), a daughter of Shadrach Lewelling and Sarah (Hobbs) Lewelling, married Jarvis P. Banta (b. ~1808, NC)
During its November 1877 term, the Supreme Court of Indiana heard a case, “The Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Lewelling,” in which Western Union appealed a lower court decision in favor of William Lewelling. In the earlier case, William Lewelling had alleged that a Western Union agent had failed to deliver a proper message, delivered to him during office hours on 22 September 1874 in Salem, Indiana, which had been accompanied by payment or tender of the usual charges. The message was from William Lewelling to his sister Jane Banta, in care of T.A. Banta. It appears Jane Banta was living in Bloomington, India, at the time. In the telegram, William Lewelling advised his sister Jane that their mother had died on the evening of 21 September 1874, and that she would be buried at 11 o’clock on 23 September. Jane Balta apparently never received the telegram. The draft message had been delivered to the Western Union office in Salem by farmer Josiah Diefendorf (58, who lived three miles north of Salem) at the request of William Lewelling.
In 1870, William P. Lewelling was resident in this household in Washington Township, Washington County, Indiana:
LEWELLING William 52 Male White IN Farmer
LEWELLING Ruth 48 Female White IN Keeping House
LEWELLING George F. 14 Male White IN At Home
LEWELLING Thomas S. 12 Male White IN At Home
LEWELLING William P. 9 Male White IN At Home
LEWELLING Sarah 87 Female White NC At Home
I assume the 87-year-old Sarah Lewelling was Sarah (Hobbs) Lewelling, the widow of Shadrach Lewelling. According to William Lewelling’s telegram to his sister, she died in September 1874.
In 1880, Ada Peden was living in a Washington County household headed by her father, Charles Peden (47, b. IN). The household included, among others, Ada’s mother Rebecca Peden (42, b. IN) and brother A. Thurman Peden (12, b. IN). Perhaps the middle name Thurman in Merle Thurman Lewelling and A. Thurman Peden repeated in the Peden family?
In 1870, Ada Peden was living with her parents in the household in Dwelling 382, Washington Township, Washington County, Indiana, separated by only a household headed by Josiah Deifendorf (54, b. NY) from the household headed by the 1818-born William Lewelling.
Rooting around for information on Merle Lewelling, I found a bit about his younger brother Wilbur.
There’s a record in Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas, for the 4 February 1922 marriage of Wilbur A. Lewelling to Coral E. Lozier.
The Social Security Death Index has an entry for a Wilbur Lewelling, born 21 January 1891, who died in Shawnee, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, in July 1977.
The Social Security Death Index has an entry for a Cora Lewelling, born 19 September 1887, who died in Altus, Jackson County, Oklahoma, in February 1974.
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